Today in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, county officials testified both on the major budget reconciliation bill, but also on the recently fast-tracked bill dealing with maintenance of effort for school funding. MACo delivered written testimony on the legislation, reading in part:
SB 848 has multiple pieces, but taken together they conspire to undermine the basic authority of county elected officials, at the expense of the voters who installed them. Setting both the local share of foundation funding and each year’s maintenance of effort target as absolute requirements, and backing that state law up with a raid on county income taxes, completely transforms MOE from a condition to receive state funding increases into a complete state takeover of county budget decision-making. The next decade of county school funding will be essentially set, dollar for dollar, by this statewide legislation. County elected officials will have no actual say in prioritizing resources in an environment of declining tax bases, and will be stripped of any incentive at all to provide any funding in excess of the new state-required minimum.
MACo and a range of additional stakeholders will also testify on the same issues before the House Appropriations Committee during its hearings tomorrow (March 1).